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Greater vigilance needed in Indo-Pacific region: Kovind

 PUNE, Feb 13: The geopolitical situation across the world, specially in the Indo-Pacific region, demands greater vigilance, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday.

Speaking after presenting the President's Colour to Lonavala-based INS Shivaji on the 75th anniversary of its commissioning, Kovind lauded the Navy for its recent 'Operation Vanilla' to help cyclone-hit Madagascar.

"Today, the geopolitical situation in the world and in the Indo-Pacific in particular demands greater vigilance. I am aware that the Navy has adopted mission-based deployments in the Indian Ocean region. High quality training of marine engineers is crucial for sustained deployments and presence in our areas of interest," Kovind said.

The future will also see great diversity in the propulsion systems, ranging from conventional to nuclear and electric and hybrid propulsion. Concepts of maintenance will also undergo a paradigm shift with increased requirements on operational availability of platforms, he said.

The INS Shivaji will need to impart requisite skills to all trainees to prepare them to meet future challenges, the President said.

"As a leading power, India plays a crucial role in shaping the global paradigm with respect to international security, trade and commerce. India's rise in the international order has been fuelled by many factors including the capabilities and valour of our armed forces," he noted.

A nation's maritime interests are usually also linked to its economy and the well-being of its people, he said.

"I am told that about 90 per cent of our trade, by volume, is handled by sea routes. This enhances the role of the Indian Navy not just in national security but also in economic security, and thus in the wider process of nation building," Kovind said.

The Navy is India's chief instrument of its sea power.

It is also the guardian of the nation's maritime interests, both military and civilian, he pointed out.

"The nation is proud of the Navy's commitment in protecting our maritime frontiers, securing our trade routes, and also extending a helping hand in times of civil emergencies," he said.

"I am glad to know that recently, the Indian Navy launched 'Operation Vanilla' to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the affected population of Madagascar after devastation caused by Cyclone Diane," the President said.

India and Madagascar are connected through the Indian Ocean region, the President said, adding that he visited the island nation in 2018.

"I am particularly happy that India was one of the first respondents to come to the rescue of our Malagasy brothers and sisters," he added.

INS Shivaji is an Indian Naval station located in the hill-town of Lonavala in Maharashtra's Pune district. It houses the Naval College of Engineering which trains officers of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard. - PTI

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